LOS ANGELES — New details have been released on the COVID-19 death of a firefighter who was assigned to one of California’s huge wildfires this summer.
The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center says U.S. Forest Service assistant fire engine operator Marcus Pacheco died due to complications of the virus last month. The 53-year-old Pacheco was assigned to the Dixie Fire on Aug. 10 and then had close contact with a coronavirus-positive individual. Pacheco became ill and tested positive for the virus on Aug. 29, then died on Sept. 2.
At the time of his death, US Forest Service officials said Pacheco had 30 years of firefighting experience. Pacheco most recently worked for the Almanor Ranger District and the Standish-Litchfield Fire Protection District.
"He was very active in the Forest Service and the community at large," US Forest Service officials said at the time of his death. "From school education programs to fighting fire, Marcus always showed up and lent a hand. Marcus will be mourned by all that knew and cared for him."
The Lessons Learned Center is an interagency organization that promotes firefighter safety.
The Dixie Fire started burning on June 13, and was not 100% contained until Oct. 25, 2021. The fire burned nearly 1 million acres across five counties — Butte, Plumas, Shasta, Lassen and Tehama counties — to become the largest single wildfire in state history and second largest behind the August Complex Fire.
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